The Panhandle

by Gay Spencer 15. August 2012 21:05
The Panhandle

This is where I come from: The Panhandle of Texas. Wheat farming county. The Great Plains. Wheat is harvested in June, and now wheat stubble remains in the fields. Now and then there's a pump jack; West Texas Crude lies below. It's arid. The wheat wouldn't produce a crop if not irrigated from the (rapidly diminishing) Ogallala Aquifer that provides irrigation water pumped from very deep wells that pour out incredibly cold water. The water pumped out of the wells of the High Plains is "fossil water." It has been trapped in the aquifer for thousands or even millions of years. Just think: in Perryton, TX it comes out of the tap (or your well, if you live on a farm). No need to buy expensive designer-y water in a bottle. Sadly, it's being depleted. Heaven help folks trying to eke out a living on the plains when it's gone.

It's that flat, 360 degrees around. The only trees mark the very occasional farm house. It's big, stark, exposed and extreme. It's hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than most other places in Texas. The climate, the sky, and the terrain is quite different from Dallas or Houston or Austin. The altitude in Dallas is at about 450 ft.; the Panhandle is at about 3000 ft. Some of the first pictures I ever took (at a single digit age) were of plowed fields and irrigation pipes.

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